MATLAB for Students, Engineers, and Professionals in STEM

June 25, 2019

Exciting news!

I’ve just RE-released my very first course (no longer available on any platform anywhere else), which was focused on MATLAB for signal processing with images and sound.

Crazy to think that I made this course FIVE years ago. This course was not even my idea!

It can be thought of as the MATLAB equivalent of my free Numpy course (which is for Python).

Of course, this is not for everybody, as MATLAB is not free and is a pretty niche language, but this should be nice for those of you who actually work with MATLAB either in school or at your job.

Or of course, you can get it just to support future content and to have a full collection. 😉

Click here to get MATLAB for Students, Engineers, and Professionals in STEM

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Taking Hand-Written Notes

June 12, 2019

This is a post that discusses the importance of taking good, hand-written notes, which are -importantly- phrased in your own words.

As a corollary, it is also a post about why slides are useless.

That’s about all that needs to be said. The rest of this article is an explanation of why.

What are the benefits of taking your own hand-written notes?

  • It makes you think more slowly and deeply about the material
  • It builds a mind-muscle connection
  • Many students forget things. Since I obviously can’t predict what every individual will remember and forget, it’s your job to help yourself remember.
  • Writing equations down is far superior to simply staring at them (again: mind-muscle connection)
  • Putting ideas into your own words forces you to internalize the material by translating them from “my way of talking” to “your way of talking”

Mind-muscle connection: what does this mean? When you only use your eyes (staring at slides or someone else’s notes) you are only using the neurons between your eyes and your brain.

When you write things down, you are using not just your sensory neurons, but your motor neurons also. In other words, 2 systems are working together at once (your sensory system and your motor system). Your whole body is working together in concert to internalize what you have learned.

Clearly, this is superior.

Putting things into your own words: why is it important?

If you have never read a college-level textbook in molecular biology or systems biology, I suggest you give it a try. Man, that stuff will put you to sleep instantly.

The way that biologists speak is very different from the way that a computer scientist or engineer speaks! Very different.

To understand biology, the engineer or computer scientist has to translate concepts from “biology language” into “engineer language”.

Hopefully, this is an over-explanation and this whole thing is obvious…

Let’s talk about slides.

Who asks for slides?

I will share with you my experience with in-person school (as opposed to this article, which is intended for students of online courses).

Students who ask for slides generally:

  • Study the least amount compared to other students (false belief that staring at slides will imbue them with knowledge)
  • Don’t take personal responsibility (they didn’t bother to take notes, now they want someone else to make up for it)

The general characteristics of these students were: lazy, falling behind, not studious, etc. In other words, they were bad students.

Thus, my first instinct when students ask for slides is always to encourage the student not to be one of these bad students, and to build good habits instead.

No, slides will not help you.

Only you can help you, by learning how to write things down like a normal, productive person!

One objection (in fact, the only objection) that students ever have to my suggestion of taking your own hand-written notes is that “but but but… everybody learns differently“.

This is a very poor excuse.

Go over the benefits of taking hand-written notes once again. You will agree with me that these are indisputable.

Claiming that you personally learn better with slides vs. taking notes is equivalent to claiming:

  • You learn better when you think less about the subject
  • You learn better by staring vs. building a mind-muscle connection
  • You learn better by not writing things down
  • You learn better when ideas are not in your own words
  • You are better solving math problems without writing down the equations vs. writing them down and manipulating the equations by hand

Clearly, all of the above are highly unlikely to be true.

Thus, your claim that “everybody learns differently” is utter nonsense. I dare anyone to tell me that any of the items above are true for them, with an explanation of why it works that way.

Still waiting for someone to give me a good explanation… 😉

Some students may see the above excuse which I have easily rebutted, and come up with a second excuse in return:

“But but but… I will use the slides in addition to taking my own notes! There! See? Now you can’t claim I am a lazy student! Now, give me the slides!”

Obviously, the only reason for this excuse is because the previous one was rebutted. Students tend to do that when they get very insistent on something. Doesn’t matter how much logic and reasoning you throw at them. They are just all about excuses.

When I encounter such a student, believe me, I can identify you immediately.

Problem with excuse #2: There is no reason you need slides to take your own notes.

Students have been taking handwritten notes for generations. There was no need for “slides” or “handouts” (as we used to call them back in the day).

You simply showed up to the lecture, listened and took notes as the lecturer spoke.

In fact, you kids have it much easier today because you can pause, rewind, speed up, or slow down the video as needed.

If you are saying that even with this modern technology, you are somehow unable to take good notes… then man, compared to past generations, you are totally incompetent!

You’re unable to hold a concept in your brain for the few seconds that it takes between the time the lecturer said something and the time you write it down?

That is weak!


Now, that being said – I do offer slides – at a price. Since no slides for my courses actually exist, I would need to export them manually.

In addition, to prevent piracy, they will have to be watermarked with a unique identification personalized to the student.

Since this requires manual labor, I will charge you for this labor.

If anyone is serious about obtaining slides, I am happy to oblige at my usual hourly rate.

To end this article, I will share a video of a nice MMA YouTuber who discusses the importance of writing things down in order to remember what you learned in class.

This YouTube link will skip to the relevant section of the video: https://youtu.be/rJTM9QXbVt0?t=309

What’s the point of this? The point is to show you that this idea of writing things down (hand-written) is universal.

I truly can’t believe I have to explain this (kids today are too spoiled with their little gadgets), but writing things down really, really works.

It works for martial artists, it works for machine learning, it works for everything!

#slides #taking notes

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[June 2019] AI / Machine Learning HUGE Summer Sale! $9.99

June 10, 2019

AI / Machine Learning Summer Sale

For the next week, all my Deep Learning and AI courses are available for just $9.99! (In addition to other courses on the site for the next few days)

For those of you who have been around for some time, you know that this sale doesn’t come around very often – just a few times per year. If you’ve been on the fence about getting a course, NOW is the time to do so. Get it now – save it for later.

For my courses, please use the coupons below (included in the links), or if you want, enter the coupon code: JUN2019.

As usual, if you want to know what order to take my courses in, check out the lecture “What order should I take your courses in?” in the Appendix of any of my courses (including the free Numpy course).

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